Today’s post is a different post than I’ve ever written before. There’s a reason for that. Today is a special anniversary for me. I know I use the word “most” or the “best” in my post titles on a regular basis (i.e., The Most Undervalued Quality of Great Marriages, The Best Book on Productivity I’ve Ever Read). You might read those posts and think I’m exaggerating or making false claims. But today when I use the word “most” I really mean it!
Today is the 19th anniversary of the most important day of my life. This day is even more important than my wedding day. It’s even more memorable than any of the days when my four kids entered into the world. It’s even more important to me (personally) than Christmas or Easter.
On February 13, 1998, I became a follower of Jesus Christ.
For the first 24 years of my life, I thought I was a Christian. I grew up in a “Christian home” and did not grow up in a Muslim, Buddhist, or Jewish home. I assumed because I wasn’t one of those other religions that I must be a Christian. When I moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina to go to school at Wake Forest University, I learned what a Christian was, and I concluded that I was definitely NOT a Christian.
Instead, I became an agnostic. What this meant is that I gave no thought to God or cared whether or not a God existed. For example, I believed in the existence of a banana, because I could taste, smell, feel, and touch a banana. On the other hand, I couldn’t hear, smell, taste, or touch God. Therefore, I didn’t believe He existed. I mocked those who believed in God and often laughed at the Christians I met.
Everything began to change for me my senior year in school when I reached the low point in my life. I was successful in every worldly way but was empty, suicidal and miserable. And no one knew because I didn’t have any close friends.
At this same season, God began to bring a few people in my life who were Christians. I met a guy named Will and a girl named Karen who were both different than any other person I’d ever met in my life. God used these two friends, along with several others, to share the Gospel with me. I learned:
- About the one, true God of the universe who is Good, Loving, Gracious, Just, Merciful, Beautiful, and so much more.
- I learned I was a sinner (Romans 3:23). Yes, I already knew I made many poor choices in my life, but I begin to realize the significance of my sinful decisions and nature.
- I recognized the fact that I am the chief sinner (1 Timothy 1:15). This didn’t mean I committed more sins than any other human being, per se, but rather than I became more aware of the wickedness of my heart.
- I knew that my sin demanded a payment and that without the shedding of blood that my sins would not be forgiven (Hebrews 9:22).
- Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6).
- I learned about Jesus, the Son of God, and Savior of the World. And I learned that He died for my sins on the cross (Romans 5:8).
- I learned that I could not earn God’s favor by my attempted good works. Rather, my righteous deeds were like filthy rags in the eyes of a perfect God (Isaiah 64:6).
- Instead, the only way I could be saved was to trust in the fact that Jesus died for my sins. I could be saved from my sins by having faith in what He accomplished on the cross (Ephesians 2:8-9).
As I look back on my 19 years, I realize that everything has changed in my life as a result of God saving me in 1998. I know that I wouldn’t be married to Kristen and that I wouldn’t be the dad to four amazing boys. We know that we wouldn’t be in Dallas and be at Watermark Community Church. I know that I wouldn’t be a part of the amazing group of friends I have in Dallas and all over the country. I know that I wouldn’t be working as a marriage pastor, getting to help prepare nearly weds for marriage and help establish newlyweds once they’re married.
19 years ago, God changed everything in my life.
So why do I write this today?
- I want you, as a reader on this site, to know more of my story. If you’re going to read what I share on here, it helps you to know more about the author.
- I celebrate what He did for me! I’ve done nothing to deserve His kindness and grace in my life. Every day is a gift. Today I’m reminded even more of this gift.
- If you also are a follower of Christ, I want to challenge you to celebrate and share your storyof grace. Who can you tell your story? Who needs to hear your story of grace and the Gospel?
- I’m reminded of the love, kindness, and boldness of Will and Karen (and many others), who showed courage to share with me. Who can say the same things about you?
- If you’re not a follower of Christ, the greatest gift I can give you is to tell you more about Jesus. Nothing would encourage me more than to have the opportunity to tell you more about Jesus and answer any questions you have about Jesus or the Gospel. You can contact me through this form, or you can email me (email@example.com).
- I know that for some of you, the things I’ve done or said or the things other Christians have done and said, can be an obstacle to your desire to know more about Jesus. For that, I’m sorry and apologize on behalf of other Christians. Please don’t shut Jesus out because of the dumb things other Christians or I have done.
Even reading through my own story again reminds me and challenges me to think of others who need to hear more about Jesus. I want to share my story with others. I hope it does the same for you. Who needs to hear your story of grace?